Sound Transit and partners break ground on Downtown Redmond Link Extension

Oct. 25, 2019
The project will add 3.4 miles to the Link light-rail system when it opens in 2024.

Sound Transit was joined by its city, county and state partners at a location that will be the terminus of the future Blue Line to ceremonially break ground on the 3.4-mile Downtown Redmond Link Extension.  

The light-rail project will extend the Blue Line from Redmond Technology Station into southeast Redmond and then downtown Redmond and includes two stations.

"Demand for transit on the Eastside will only increase as Redmond continues to grow as an area people want to live and work," said Redmond Mayor and Sound Transit Board Chair John Marchione. "Today we celebrate a win for transit riders, drivers and pedestrians who will soon travel quickly, easily and traffic-free between homes and workplaces in Redmond and destinations throughout the region."

The segment is scheduled to open in 2024 and follows the 2023 opening of the East Link extension, which will connect downtown Seattle and Redmond’s Overlake area.

"Downtown Redmond’s opening, just one year after the completion of East Link, will unlock transformative mobility and economic opportunities," said King County Council Vice Chair and Sound Transit Board Member Claudia Balducci. "The 2024 opening will not only provide congestion-free trips to more jobs and schools across the region, it will create new connections to our most iconic parks and trails, and it could spur much needed affordable housing on the Eastside."

Sound Transit explains that the project is the result of intensive collaboration between the city of Redmond, the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, King County Metro Transit and the Washington State Department of Transportation.

"Today we celebrate a milestone in creating a world-class transportation system that will link communities across three counties," said King County Executive Dow Constantine. "Not only will Redmond, Marymoor Park and Microsoft be accessible by high capacity rail, but Sound Transit’s community investments will help deliver long-needed connections between regional bike trails, making it even easier to get around without a car."

Sound Transit estimates ridership on the Redmond Extension and East Link will be 43,000 – 52,000 daily riders by 2026.

"Today’s groundbreaking follows years of planning and partnership to complete the regional transit network to downtown Redmond," said Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff. "Within five years our Link extensions to Redmond, Lynnwood and Federal Way and Stride BRT service on I-405 and SR-522 will enable many thousands more riders to escape crippling traffic."

In July, Sound Transit awarded a $729.26-million contract to Stacy and Witbeck/Kuney as a joint venture to complete the final design and build the project.

The design-build contract includes all work to complete the final design and construction of 3.4 miles of light-rail guideway connecting to the existing Redmond Technology Station and extending to downtown Redmond. The contract also includes design and construction of two stations, a 1,400-space parking garage, the overhead catenary system, traction power substations, train control and communications, special track work, utilities, and street and trail improvements.

Once the line is in service, Sound Transit says people traveling from downtown Redmond will be able to reliably reach downtown Bellevue in 18 minutes; Lynnwood in 69 minutes; the University of Washington in 49 minutes; Sea-Tac Airport in 72 minutes; and Federal Way in 87 minutes.

"Sound Transit’s investments are creating economic opportunity for thousands of working people, including hundreds of good, family-wage jobs for skilled craftspeople here in Redmond," said Monty Anderson, executive secretary, Seattle Building & Construction Trades Council. "Through apprenticeships and training programs with this project, we are also building the next generation of construction workers from our local communities including women, people of color, veterans and others who are disadvantaged."

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.